Meeting up for a game - Tips to stay safe
We’ve began to notice that all you Heretics are getting bored of talking over the great wide inter-web and are wanting to meet up and play each other in person. That is brilliant and the Admin team would just like to make sure everybody is safe. It’s a scary world out there, not at all like your backyard where the scariest thing is your neighbours dog, and that’s behind a fence.
While most of us are all very friendly and well adjusted individuals sometimes you might met somebody online who is perfectly nice and normal sounding but in reality may have, lets just say, “other motives”. So:
Please be very careful when you arrange to meet someone for the first time. Make sure the first meeting is in a public venue and don’t just take the persons word that “There is a bar on Featherstone Street, we’ll meet up there”. Have a look into it yourself, ask around and see what the neighbour hood is like. Likewise if somebody says “Come along to the Rabid Midgets War Gaming Club, we are at: 56 Crazy Short Persons Street”, try and find out a bit more about the club from others before you go. You don’t really want to be wandering around back streets trying to find somebodies house that may or may not exist. Always meet in Public first rather than a private residence.
Try and go along when there is a group of people there as this means that all the attention isn’t going to on you. However if you are going to be meeting a individual then:
ALWAYS try and go with a friend and stay with them. If they leave, you should as well.
ALWAYS make sure you speak to the guy on the phone before you agree to meet. Asking to “talk” to them may throw off anybody that may have be out for something other than a war-game. You can also judge them for yourself.
ALWAYS take a fully charged mobile phone
ALWAYS have the means to get home safe about your person - a return train ticket in your shoe or a taxi fare for example.
ALWAYS tell a parent, spouse, responsible friend or flat mate where your going, when you are getting back etc.
ALWAYS arrange to call that person at a pre-set time to tell them you are okay. Use a secret code word to tell them that things are proceeding as planned. For example, if you use the word 'coffee' at any point in your message then things are fine, but if you use the word 'uncle' then you are in trouble and your phone buddy should call the police. So, "Did uncle David get back all right?" is a request for help that you can make even while you are being overheard by someone you distrust. This may sound cheesy and stupid but can potentially save your life.
Another example is this: The people in my flat always text another member of the flat who is at home when they are leaving work. We then know that if they are not back in about half an hour then something has gone wrong and we should head out and start looking for them. Tell your “person“, what route you will be getting home by BEFORE you go, not on the phone. Also vary this route so you can’t be followed from week to week and make sure your “person“, knows which route you are taking. Obviously you shouldn’t walk unless you absolutely have too.
Another good thing to have is a text message saved to your phone that you can send out telling somebody to ring you. You can then fake an emergency and have to rush away without awkward questions.
ALWAYS be a little paranoid. Ask yourself "Why does he want to meet here, in this place? Is someone going to mug me and take all my minis, is there another way to get there?"
Above all just use your common sense and trust your gut. If the situation feels a dodgy then don’t think “oh it’ll be ok”, get out and get home safe.
Don’t take any risks and be safe. Don’t want any of you guys going missing on us.